Could this be your new U.S. Senator? (Photo : Reuters)
President Barack Obama's administration has heralded the values of transparency in politics like few before him, but it's unlikely even the main proponent behind the campaign had this in mind: A White House online petition is urging the government to require U.S. congressmen and senators to display their financial donors on their clothing like NASCAR sponsors.
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The White House's "We The People" site allows anyone to create a petition on any subject they chose. To elicit a response from the President, petitions require creators to amass 100,000 signatures in one month. Created March 16 by an unidentified individual, almost 8,000 people have signed the financial sponsor petition in the last two days alone, putting it on track to meet the required amount of signatures by its April, 18 deadline.
"Since most politicians' campaigns are largely funded by wealthy companies and individuals, it would give voters a better sense of who the candidate they are voting for is actually representing if the company's logo, or individual's name, was prominently displayed upon the candidate's clothing at all public appearances and campaign events," explains the petition.
"Once elected, the candidate would be required to continue to wear those "sponsor's" [sic] names during all official duties and visits to constituents. The size of a logo or name would vary with the size of a donation. For example, a $1 million dollar contribution would warrant a patch of about 4" by 8" on the chest, while a free meal from a lobbyist would be represented by a quarter-sized button. Individual donations under $1000 are exempt."
As the Huffington Post notes, enforcing such a requirement would probably violate both House and Senate dress code. So, it's hard to say if the government could ever successfully impose such a rule, even if the petition breaks the 100K mark and President Obama agrees.
The financial sponsor petition is just one example of numerous unique proposals gaining steam on the White House's "We The People" site. Recently, a petition asking the government to replace the National Anthem with R. Kelly's seminal booty opus "Ignition (Remix)" amassed over 11,000 signatures. With almost 350,000 signatures, a petition calling to legally recognize the Westboro Baptist Church as a hate group dominates the competition, though. There are also at least three other similar petitions, all asking to - at the very least - revoke the church's tax exempt status, all of which have about 75,000 signatures on average.